Joseph Bayliss

Joseph Bayliss

RA Guy Real Profiles of RA 11 Comments

Real Profiles of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Photos © Joseph Bayliss


Joseph Bayliss




Dudley, United Kingdom

How long have you lived with RA?

While I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 10 years old, I’d had severe aches and pains in my legs since I can remember. Though we always put it down to ‘growing pains’. It simply never occurred to me to ask why I was the only boy who was in immense pain after a kick around or when we played soldiers in the school playground. It wasn’t until my right knee swelled up badly one day that I and my family started to worry. Unfortunately it took nearly a full year going from hospital to hospital until I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at the Birmingham Childrens Hospital. I have found it difficult to live with it ever since.

What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?

Seek out fellow sufferers! The internet is wonderful for seeking out help and advice from people in the same situation as you, with the exact same feelings and physical challenges. Learn to understand the mental challenges that come along with any form of chronic condition, especially when chronic pain is involved. Find a good rheumatologist! Do your research, thanks to great sites such as RA Guy’s site, trustworthy information is just a click or two away.

Do you use any mobility aids?

I use a walking stick(s) quite often due to both pain and an inability to walk when the condition is at it’s worse. I sometimes use knee pads to both protect my knees and calm things down, they actually work surprisingly well. Had a stair railing fitted to help me with getting up and down stairs.

How has living with RA helped to improve your life?

Hmm, that’s a difficult one. I’d say I’m more understanding of the limitations and challenges disabled people suffer from and care a great deal about them. I appreciate a comfortable seat more then most, same can be said for baths.

Do you have any visible signs of RA?

Thankfully I currently have little serious disfigurement and the only signs of surgery are two small holes in my knees where cameras were used to inspect inside the joint.

Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?

I struggle to live with this condition daily, so I’m certainly no expert on coping with it to well. But I’d recommend writing down your feelings daily to help you mentally get a grip of matters and will help you understand your pain and the best ways to cope with it. Become part of a social environment where you can discuss RA, this can be locally or of course on the web, there are many great sites out there but it’s good to interact with people who simply understand. A weird one, but I’m a fan of self-hypnosis and it might be worth checking out.

Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?

Currently take Celebrex Celecoxib. Been doing the usual physical exercises to help the joints and muscles. Take painkillers to help with the immense pain, not sure where I’d be without them.

Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?

Yes, I’ve struggled with handling RA both physically and mentally. I’ve had spells of depression and even other related symptoms such as panic attacks and anger attacks. I think it’s important that those newly diagnosed are told about the mental challenges that RA can bring let alone the physical troubles. RA is as confusing to those who suffer from it as those who do not, so helping people understand this condition should always be of importance to anyone who is in such a situation. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially when it comes to doctors and specialist who will more then happily ignore you if you don’t speak up for yourself. Oh and stay strong!

Comments 11

  1. Leanne

    Just a suggestion for Joseph. I’m 33 and have had RA since I was about 12. I currently have L hip resurfacing and will get the R done next year. Anyway, Joseph, I obviously don’t know your medical history but celebrex seems pretty mild for someone with your level of difficulty and your age. Have you talked to your doctor about methotrexate and/or biologics, which both help stop progression of the disease?

  2. Megan

    Thank you for sharing yet another wonderful profile of someone with RA. As usual, the empathy tears have sprung.


  3. Thrive With RA™

    Thank you Joseph and RA Guy for this wonderful profile. Not wonderful you have RA of course, but wonderful to have insight into our similarities, and of course our many differences as RA patients. Your candor is appreciated.

    This is the first I’ve read of someone mentioning leg pains as “growing pains,” and in relation to RA. It gave me great pause, as reading this reminded me of the excruciating leg pains I had as a child on and off for years, where I had to crawl around and drag my body, they were so painful, and couldn’t sleep at night or get any relief from Ben Gay ointment, or aspirin — which was the go-to regimen for “growing pains”, which is what I was told my condition was at the time as well. My parents thought me “overly dramatic” as I was crawling.

    I had completely forgotten how that pain back then is similar to my RA pain now. I didn’t put the leg aches together with my recent RA onset a year ago, until reading this. Perhaps this symptom of my legs as a child was indeed related to my severe RA? Another piece of the puzzle perhaps, and again a reminder to me that if we help spread more awareness of RA – not just outside, but also within the RA patient community – we will find some similarities to help each other, perhaps find a cure. I have several polls on my website asking these probing questions, to help find our commonalities in this sea of dissimilar RA symptoms.

    Thank you again for sharing!

  4. Post
    RA Guy

    Joseph, thanks for being so open and honest, and for sharing details about your struggle with RA. I struggled quite a bit myself, years ago before I had ever written a word about this topic, and there are many days where things are still very difficult…but somehow, I think we learn to adapt as much as possible, accept the limitations that this disease brings into our lives, and figure out way to continually overcome the challenges that come our way.

    And you’re right, the challenges are both physical and emotional. For the longest time, my roadblocks were the emotional challenges. Now that I’ve been able to improve in this regard, I’ve found it just a little bit easier to face th physical challenges.

    Thanks again for sharing your story, a lot of people have emailed me and and messaged me to let me know how much they appreciated your profile.

  5. David

    Hi Joseph thank you so much for your honesty in this post I really need to connect with people where I live Ive only had RA for just over 2 years now maybe longer but it hit me real hard and fast just over 2 years go. I struggle with the pain and physical part of this disease but the mental and emotional stuff that it does is really killing me like depression , resentments and the rest that comes with it I was the healthiest I ever was in the prime of my life and this hit me so ya I just want to thank you for putting yourself out there so guys like me can hear others like yourself .

  6. Yoga RA Girl

    Hi everyone, I have had RA for about 8 years now. I currently manage to teach yoga. This helps to keep my joints moving and makes me feel happy. I have learned through yoga to let go of anger and focus on the positives. For those who have difficulty walking, there are on floor exercises that can help. Remember to go at your own pace.I still work full time and have challenges with day to day activities but yoga keeps me strong and positive. Hope this gives you some hope and inspiration. x

  7. Cammie

    Joseph, thanks for sharing your RA story/journey. You are so right about the challenges of this disease being physical and emotional. Many times for me the emotional ones are harder to deal with then the physical. Thank goodness for support groups where we can connect with others who are going through the same thing and understand. Thanks for people like RA Guy who help spread the word through sharing the stories or real Superheroes.

  8. Julie

    I just want to say a huge thanks to RA Guy and Joseph for their valuable insight on dealing with RA. I have only recently been diagnosed and thought for years that being hypothyroid was the cause of my fatigue and stiff joints…how ignorant I was:-)So here I am a bit of a ‘newbie’ feeling a tad sorry for myself and to be honest a bit overwhelmed as I know nothing about RA. Besides going onto cortisone and Celebrex, should my diet change, is there any exercise that will help? Would so greatly appreciate any advice anyone has to offer. I’d also like to know if it is side effects of the medication which is making me feel so agitated and anxious. I’m finding it difficult to sleep, even harder physically getting up (stiff feet) and my humour…well it seems to have all but dissapeared. I just want me back 🙂

  9. Holly

    Thanks so much for your profile, I am very similar to you in age, symptoms , emotions and physically. You have given me support. Thank you.

  10. Stephen Licata

    THANKS for sharing your story. I have only been diagnosed for 4 months. I am trying to find others who understand. I wish you well.

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